ADVERTISEMENT

A 1967 Corvette has sold for $3.4 million, by far the highest price ever fetched by a Corvette at auction.

Naturally, there is a local connection: the “big block” engine which generated the car’s mammoth horsepower was built at General Motors’ Town of Tonawanda plant.

The maroon L88 was one of nearly 1,000 muscle and classic cars that were sold last weekend at the Mecum Auction in Dallas, Texas. The previous reported record high auction sale price for a Corvette was $1.76 million, in 2008. (The $3.4 million price included the auction company’s fee; without the fee, the sale price was about $3.2 million.)

Wisconsin-based Mecum Auctions calls the Corvette L88 “one of the world’s most collectible American sports cars.” Only 20 of the vehicles were produced in 1967, among just 216 produced over a three-year period in the 1960s, making the cars a rare find. Car enthusiasts say GM rated the vehicle’s V8 engine at 430 horsepower, but that its true potential was about 560 horsepower.

James Sandoro, founder of the Buffalo Transportation/Pierce-Arrow Museum, says the L88’s astonishing sale price is a testament to what was under the hood from the GM Tonawanda plant. “It’s a worldwide thing now, and everybody’s going to be talking about it,” he said.

Mecum says the auctioned vehicle’s original owner, Jim Elmer of Portland, Ore., took it on the drag racing circuit and won the NHRA A/Sports Nationals title in Indianapolis in 1967. The car’s most recent owner, Buddy Herin, acquired the vehicle in 1998. Mecum did not disclose the identity of the car’s new owner.

email: mglynn@buffnews.com